Saturday, May 1, 2010

L'Art du Feu, Castries

Our plan for our first day in France was simple, go shopping, primarily for kitchen items for the house that have been suggested by guests.

We try to be practical, especially when it comes to food, which is always a high priority for us; eat first as we were hungry. It was 12 00, and time for dejeuner, lunch.

Since we were shopping primarily for kitchen items, we headed towards Metro, a membership-only store for restaurant and hotel professionals located south of Montpellier off the A 9.

The area north of Montpellier between Clapier where cousin Jean Marc lives and the entrance to the A 9 highway is primarily garrigue, scrublands or planted in vineyards. Dotted here and there are small towns such as Castries.

Castries is a small town northeast of Montpellier which dates back to Roman times. The town was built on a hill in concentric circles around its chateau near the Via Domitia, the road built by the Romans.

In the center of town is L'Art du Feu, a small charming restaurant where we have dined a number of times over the years.

The restaurant was originally a black smith shop, hence the name L'Art du Feu, fire art. It is small, divided into two dining rooms. The walls are stone and wood beams cross the ceiling.

We had not réservé, made a reservation but luckily there was still one table available when we arrived. We were seated in the back dining room where other's were already enjoying their aperitifs.

We ordered a bottle of red wine from the region, a 2007 Chateau La Roque, Pic St. Loup, a winery which has been represented on the Bistro Des Copains wine list. Like most red wines from this region, it is big, with plenty of aromas from the garrigue.

Shirley ordered a La Carte rather than a menu. She started with a mozzarella zucchini croustade which was accompanied by a salad.

I ordered the menu for 19,50 Euros. I selected for my first course, moules gratinees. Really delicious.

Shirley ordered for main course, eggplant lasagna with provolone cheese. It was very similar to what we know as eggplant parmigana. This dish was in the entrée, appetizer section of the menu so it was accompanied by a salad.

For my main course, I chose boeuf en brochette, beef on a skewer. It was accompanied by polenta and very good ratatouille.

To finish, we shared 2 scoops of house-made ice cream; lavendar and coffee. As usual, service was attentive, the dining room was noisy as it was filled with noisy hungry diners.
As I heard someone say at the neighboring table as they got up to leave, c'est pas mauvais, not bad in a very good way. A good choice for lunch if you are exploring the wine country north of Montpellier.

No comments:

Post a Comment